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Chicago

My So-called Beautiful Life: Chicago

Lovelies, we need to talk about Chicago. I visited for the first time earlier in the month for personal/work and I L-O-V-E-D this gorgeous midwestern city. I was going for work during the week, so my boyfriend decided to join me the weekend before for a fun getaway/birthday celebration. Plus, we got to spend all weekend with one of my dearest friends, which was just the icing on the cake!

We packed a lot into the weekend and it was well worth it. To start out – we knocked out all of the major tourist attractions. We did Willis Tower, an architectural boat tour, Navy Pier and Millennium Park. All of them were super cliche, but I would redo all of them in a heartbeat!

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Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

But we didn’t just stick to the well-known spots. Having a best friend in the city meant that we also got to live like locals. We laughed the night away at The Improvised Shakespeare Company, explored the Gold Coast and hung with the hippest of cool cats in Wicker Park.

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Chicago

Chicago

And of course, we ate our little hearts out. Everything was mighty tasty, but some of my favorites were Chicago Q, Miss Ricky’s, RPM Italian, The Gage, Girl and The Goat and Big Star. And if those restaurants were any indication – there are so many other local gems left to unearth. Obviously I need to go again!

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Chicago

Chicago

IMG_3376I can’t say enough wonderful things about Chicago. I had an amazing time and want to go back as soon as possible. It’s even been added to my “I’d move there” list. Who knows where the wind will take me!

Have you been to Chicago before? What is your favorite part of the city?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure   

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Tunic Tales

There is something so easy about a cute tunic. It’s cozy and comfortable, but can easily be dressed up with heels and a few pretty accessories. My fabulous sister-in-law just happens to own an adorable online boutique – Mon Bon’s Boutique – and I snatched up this adorable tunic a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve worn it at least once a week. Sometimes multiple days in a row. Woops? I just can’t stop wearing it!

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tunic

tunic

Tunic Mon Bon’s Boutique | Jeans Free People (similar)

Heels Franco Sparto (similar) | Scarf Mirana Bennett (similar)

What is your favorite way to style a tunic?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

april 2015 favorites

April Favorites: 2015

April has come and gone. It was a fabulous month; maybe the best so far in 2015. Seeing as it was my birthday month, that might be a slightly biased statement. Oh well.

Can you believe it took me 27 years to finally test out Make Up Forever HD Foundation? And I call myself a beauty blogger ….. *disappointed head shake.* While I normally reach for light coverage foundations and BB creams, I’ve been L-O-V-I-N-G this more heavy-duty number. I can’t put it down. And with that, let’s move onto the rest of my April favorites.

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Foundation | Rollerball Trio | Agave Lip Mask |  Foundation Brush | Floral Pants

And while we’re at it, let’s talk a walk down memory lane and look at my January, February and March favorites as well.

What were your favorites this month?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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The Skin Care Battle of the Sexes

Hello there, ladies. If you’re like me, you steal your man’s shirts for sleeping and his sweatshirts when it’s cold. And apparently, according to the gorgeous Celeste from Skin Authority, it might be time to start stealing his skin care products too.

Does your husband or boyfriend steal your cleansers and moisturizers? My female skin care clients tell me this happens quite a bit in their homes. Well, guess what ladies? The guys are onto something!

Men’s and women’s skin care products differ only slightly. It is often thought that all men have thick, oily skin. That can be true, but I’ve also seen plenty of men who have sensitive skin. And, with women, their skin type can be all over the board based on hormones, age, sun exposure, etc.

Women who have dense, oily, thick skin might benefit from the slight difference in a lower pH that can often be found in men’s products. Men with more sensitive skin can benefit from products that have a slightly higher pH and/or more soothing ingredients. As I’ve written previously, treatment products should have a pH below four. The human skin ranges from 4.5-5.5 pH; a product should be below the pH level of the skin for maximum penetration.

Another shopping tip, many gender-specific products are simply marketed to either men or women in terms of packaging and fragrance, but offer no real difference. Most importantly, your skin care regimen comes down to: 1. the concerns you are looking to address and 2. what works best for your individual needs and lifestyle.

A product that works for my husband and me is Skin Authority’s Age-Defying Shave Serum. We love that the Serum incorporates ingredients to raise the hair away from the skin for an ultra-close shave without irritation.

Now excuse me while I go sneak some of my boyfriend’s skin care products before he notices. And while you’re at it, check out Celeste’s skin care tips from January, February, March and April. Enjoy!

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclaimer

About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.

 

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Maintaining those Spring Colors

The best thing about Spring? I’m sure saner people would say the blooming flowers and budding trees. And yes, those things are fabulous, but the bright fashion is my favorite part of Spring. After our long New England Winters, it’s such a joy to be able to bear my legs and wear bright clothes that don’t weigh approximately 500 pounds.

As a fellow fashionista, I’m sure you also turn to Pantone for color guidance throughout the year. I don’t feel the need to follow trends religiously, but I do enjoy making sure that I’m keeping up with the latest colors so that I don’t look like a #TBT in living form. So as Spring time seems to be here to stay in Boston, I decided it’s time to catch up on the hot colors and add a few splashes of these shades to my closet. Naturally, I headed to Nordstrom.com and put together a mini wish list, which you can see below:

New, cute cloths for Spring are all well and good, but there is nothing more depressing than realizing you’ve ruined your favorite frocks in the wash. One of the easiest ways to either go horribly right or horribly wrong with your wash? Picking the wrong laundry detergent.

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Never fear, method has you (and your clothes) covered. Not only is their detergent effective and cute (I mean look at that packaging!), but method has also teamed up with ASOS to create a 10-piece line of A-FREAKING-DORABLE pieces.   I mean, just look at these tops, skirts and dresses. Yes, please!

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method laundry detergent works to maintain both brights and whites, which is great for lazy people like me who don’t want to have more than one detergent. Plus, the detergent works great in cold water, which is a huge plus for anyone looking to save energy on each load of laundry. Saving the your clothes and the environment? Double win!

How do you maintain the vibrant colors in your Spring clothes?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

KarelenCremeDryOils

My Spring Skin Care Regimen: Introducing Karelèn Products

I like to think of myself as a bit of a lotion connoisseur, so when I heard about the new brand, Karelèn, and their line of body butters, hand and body lotions, and dry oils, it was like I’d died and gone to heaven. Actually, my first thought was, “What is a dry oil and why haven’t I tried one yet?!”

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Receiving my goodies in the mail was much like opening my presents on Christmas morning. There was a lot of oohing and aahing. The body butters, lotions, and dry oils come in 13 fragrances, each with their own unique healing nutrients such as Vitamin E to neutralize free radicals, avocado rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and olive oil to promote cell growth.

I am a sucker for good packaging, and I loved the little pump on my Vivacious Vitamin E Hand & Body Crème. Not only did it make my skin feel silky smooth, it had a light and fresh fragrance that is perfect on these warmer sunny days.

…And can we talk about the dry oils? I love the idea of oils, but usually they are pretty messy and can leave stains on sheets and clothing. The two oils I’ve been using (Luscious Coconut and Olive All Over) go on like an oil, but rub in matte. They also smell divine- I have a small obsession with anything coconut! I was a little skeptical when the bottle said it was fast-drying, easily absorbed, and non-greasy, but the description was spot on. My only wish for these bottles is that they had spray nozzles to create a mist, rather than droplets of oil. Kind of like the old Australian Gold tanning oil sprays I used to use when I was a clueless sun worshipping high schooler.

Below you can see how matte the oil is after I rubbed it into my hand. No sun glare here!

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Karelèn also has a whole line of hair products called Curly Twirls. Although the weather has not become quite humid enough yet for me to wear my hair wavy, I have sprayed their Frizz Blitz Spritz with Argan Oil on my frizzies to smooth them down. I can’t wait to use the Curly Twirls Custard when it gets a little warmer. Both of these smell fantastic! On the left my frizzies are out in full force, and on the right they have been tamed by the Frizz Blitz Spritz. Nice and smooth and definitely not greasy looking!

KarelenFrizzBefore

KarelenFrizzAfter

The amazing thing about Karelèn products are that they are made in the U.S.A and are crafted with the earth’s finest essential oils. They contain no glycols, parabens, mineral oils, or petrolatum, and best of all are cruelty free. And for $8 each, they are a steal. If you want to check out their whole line, head over to their website at http://karelen.com.

Have you tried Dry Oils yet? Tell us in the comments below!

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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Animal Print

I can’t remember exactly when my leopard print obsession started. I know it was within the past 5 years since I graduated college, but I don’t think a week goes by without at least one outfit featuring leopard. As far as I’m considered, it’s a neutral. I wear leopard with floral, stripes and all sorts of other print. Power clashing is my favorite past time.

So as you can imagine, on a lazy weekend day when I just want to wear pajamas but realize that’s not socially acceptable, leopard is a must. This weekend I opted for my leopard slip-on sneakers. They jazz up the most boring of outfits and make me feel like I didn’t just roll out of bed unshowered when, in fact, I did.

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Trench Cole Haan | Sweatshirt Target | Necklace ILY Couture (similar)

Jeans Citizens of Humanity | Sneakers Target

Nothing cheers me up like a little animal print OOTD!

How do you feel about leopard print? Do you wear it often?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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Schwarzkopf’s New Dry Shampoo Leaves Hair Voluminous and Clean

Hey beauties! I’m pretty sure I am one of the last girls on the planet to jump on the dry shampoo bandwagon. I know our very own Kristin Bassett has her go-to product, and many of my friends swear by it. So when I had the opportunity to test out Schwarzkopf Styliste Ultime Biotin+ Volume & Texture Luxe Fresh Dry Shampoo, I was thrilled!

Schwarzkopf Dry Shampoo

I have to admit, it is a rare day that I don’t shampoo my hair. Sometimes I’ll get into weekend mode and go a little longer without my shower, but I cannot stand the feel of unwashed hair. Maybe because I have A LOT of it. It took everything in my power to leave my hair dirty for this experiment.

The Schwarzkopf products are specifically designed to leave your hair feeling weightless while adding volume and giving roots a boost. The great thing about the dry shampoo is it can be used on clean hair to add a little texture and volume. Score!

A few things I noticed after spraying my roots from about 8 inches away:

  • The air felt cold and refreshing
  • It had a whitish color (like powder) that needed to be rubbed in
  • The scent was fantastic!

My only suggestion while using this dry shampoo would be not to spray it directly on your part, as it does tend to begin as a powdery tint. Also, it does need to be worked in pretty well to assure it has even coverage. Although it left my hair looking more matte than shiny, it did give it volume and felt MUCH cleaner. See for yourself:

schwarzkopf dry shampoo

schwarzkopf dry shampoo

Schwarkopf has a whole styliste ULTÎME Biotin+ Volume & Texture Collection, and for the price ($6.97 each), you can’t go wrong.

Are you ready to jump on the dry shampoo bandwagon?!

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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My So-called Beautiful Life: Montreal

You might have noticed that I haven’t posted a new blog post in a week. Gasp! It’s not because I have forgotten about you. It’s because I was in Montreal for my “real” job and I had less free time than I anticipated, so I feel behind on my posts. Poor planning skills, me.

Not my usual type of 'gram, but thought this convention center was too pretty to pass up - Kristin

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While I barely saw the outside of the convention center, I made sure to leave a bit of time to walk around the beautiful city and of course check out the local drugstore (Pharmaprix) and Sephora to see what different products I could find. I went to Pharmaprix twice and made great friends with the sales associate. I picked up a bronzer primer and lip crayon from Bourjois and this gorgeous lippie in “Excessive Rose” from Guerlain. Apparently they carry some designer brands in Canadian drugstores … excuse me while I move.

In Montreal for work, so naturally had to check out the drugstore beauty situation. Pharmaprix is AMAZING but I controlled myself and only got two things I can't find back in Boston. Buuuuutttt I might be going back - Kristin  #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyxpose #bosbloggers #bostonbloggers #drugstorebeauty

Theeennnnnnn I headed to Sephora on Sunday AM for the VIB Rouge event. I wasn’t going to let being in another country keep me from the samples and 15% off. Not only did I attend, I called the store in advance to ensure they had space for me. I left a very rambly voicemail begging to get in … it was pretty epic. Rather than list everything I bought, I’ll be posting a collective haul from the past few weeks in a couple of days.

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Being out of the country for work won't keep me from a VIB Rouge event - Kristin  #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyxpose #bosbloggers #bostonbloggers #ohcanada

Like I said, not a whole lot to report from my trip, but I wanted to pop in and say hi so you didn’t think I had dropped off the face of the earth.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Montreal?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

eye skin care

The Eyes Have It: Which Types of Beauty Products Make them Sparkle?

Happy April, beauties. It’s finally starting to feel like Spring here in Boston, which is a welcome change. Our favorite guest blogger, Celeste from Skin Authority, is back to answer another one of your skin care questions. This month, she’s hear to tackle the topic of eye skin care. Enjoy!

The eyes are one of the first things that people notice when they meet you, so let’s give them extra love. I’m often asked if the same moisturizer that is used on the face can be used on the eyes. Sorry, beauties, the answer is no.

Under-eye creams are different than facial creams and moisturizers in many ways. Since the skin around the eyes is significantly thinner and more delicate than facial skin, specific formulas are needed. Also:

  • The skin around the eye area requires a pH level that differs from that which facial creams often provide.
  • Many facial creams contain added fragrances and/or petroleum, which are not safe for use around the eyes.
  • Face products may have different end-results in terms of product benefits.

Effective products for the eyes contain powerful ingredients including arnica, vitamins K & E, and polymers. These ingredients not only aid in eye hydration, but also address puffiness, discoloration, and tightening of the eye area.

A few more tips for sparkling eyes:

  • Ice cubes are great to relieve stayed-up-too-late eyes. Just lightly move the ice cube back and forth under your eyes a few times for a lift.
  • Baggy eyes? Use your fingertips to create a light, circular massage motion under your eyes. Finish by pushing your fingers toward your nose; this helps release extra, unneeded moisture through your tear ducts.

As usual, Celeste is a great source of skin-care knowledge. If you haven’t already, check out her posts on skin care resolutions, skin care basics and face oils for acne-prone skin.  And as always, if you have any questions for Celeste, you can email them to me at kristinbassett@beautyxpose.com and I’ll make sure to have her answer them next month!

What are your favorite eye products?

Photos: Ultra Luxe Skin Care; Disclosure

About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.